Some Notes From Bill Mazeroski’s Baseball 1998 Preview

I got a copy of Bill Mazeroski’s Baseball 1998. It’s always easy to go through these kinds of sports previews and make fun of their faulty predictions-Maz et al tabbed the Yankees as the A.L.’s “team on the slide”-and I won’t present any more of those. But, here are a few other noteworthy items in the magazine. This, on Sammy Sosa:

“The Cubbies signed Sammy Sosa to a four-year, $42.5-million contract. The loud clang heard around baseball was the owners collectively fainting. Is this the same rightfielder who has a .257 lifetime average and one 40-home run season? During the summer, manager Jim Riggleman gave Sosa the take sign on a 3-1 count. He swung. “If you care more about the damn 30-30 club, you can sit on the bench.” One of the raps on Sammy has always been his interest in personal stats rather than the team in general.”

From an article on a radical realignment plan: in 1997, “the boys [owners, including Bud Selig] were trying to dismantle the game we love and turn it into the NBA. No less than 15 teams were going to change leagues; there would be no American League teams on the West Coast. Too radical. OK, seven teams change leagues. Maybe next year…OK, one team from the AL goes to the NL, and we’ll call it even.”

Also, Don Mattingly retired only at the start of the ’97 season, when he “realized his constant back pain would not permit a return to the game, and hung up his number 23.”

Published in: Uncategorized on July 14, 2015 at 10:40 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Whoever wrote that wasn’t necessarily wrong about Sammy Sosa. They just weren’t in the PED loop. George W. Bush later called trading Sosa his “worst mistake” … gee, if only!

  2. Good stuff. Arne. Gotta love those old predictions and opinions.

  3. It’s always fun to look at old predictions to see how they turned out, although I always get a twinge of regret opening my 1970 baseball preview book and looking at how the writer thought the Seattle Pilots would do…less said about that, the better.

    Anyway, I thought the passage about teams changing leagues was quite interesting. I’ve thought for some time that MLB should expand by two more teams (Sacramento? Montreal?) and break things up into four geographically-based, eight-team leagues. An MLB West could consist of Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, LA Dodgers, LA Angels, San Diego, Arizona and Colorado, for instance. It would help cut travel costs, encourage genuine rivalries and create four pennant races instead of two.

    The World Series? Tough one, although a neutral site (hasn’t hurt the NFL, has it?) could be chosen with all four pennant winners converging for an opening six-game round-robin to determine the top two seeds, who would then meet in a best-of-seven World Series final. You could wrap it all up in less than three weeks and actually end the season before the snow starts falling while selling tickets all season long. Just thinking out loud.

  4. Back in 2008 when oil prices were soaring, and everything was collapsing, I had the idea that consolidating MLB geographically would be a good, perhaps necessary way to economize on travel expenses. Only MLB doesn’t have geographical divisions, and the teams travel only a bit less frequently than NHL and NBA teams do.

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